Life is very stressful when you have to dash out of your home every morning and reach your workplace on time. Some people suffer from ill health and various disorders because of the work pressure. One of the best things that you can do is be your own boss and venture in to a lucrative business that does not require too much capital. In fact it is great idea to start a hot dog cart. Everyone around us is always in a hurry and desire quick and reasonable meals and no food can do justice to your appetite and wallet as hot dogs.
If you intend to start any business you must know that all the major and minor aspects should be planned so that there is no scope of committing mistakes. If you thought that hot business was just about spreading mustard sauce then you are sadly mistaken.
You need to methodically plan the hot dog venture so that you can recover your capital that is invested and also start making profits simultaneously. First and foremost you should think of purchasing or renting a vending cart. You should try and find out whether food carts are permitted or not as some cities are very strict about health ordinances.
You should visit all the hot dog vendors in and around the vicinity that you select. Understanding their business module and how they operate will help you get a better idea about selling sausages and consolidating the business. The dynamics like number of hot dogs sold, made, wasted and so on should be learnt so that you know about the interest and consumption on a daily basis.
It is advisable that you calculate the cost factor as well so that you should know the amount invested for electricity, food, cart and so on. You can start off the cart venture with even $500 but you should have all the investments made in writing so that you know exactly how much money was invested where. Starting the hot dog business is very easy but surviving the competition and consolidating it is extremely difficult.
You should be aware about the health code requirements so that there are no problems in this department. However, you should be hard working, persevering, and a great planner if you want to start the cart venture in your city.
Here are some hot dog stand ideas and tips that you may consider implementing in your business.
Work with Competitors
Believe it or not, it is possible to work with your competitors in a way that is mutually beneficial. Just because you are competing against each other it doesn’t mean that you cannot also help each other out. Buying in bulk is one way to cooperate with the opposition. You may be purchasing similar supplies and equipment and if you combine your orders it may be possible to get cheaper prices.
Sharing equipment with other hot dog vendors is also a good idea. If one vendor is working from Monday to Friday and another is doing events on weekends only then why not share equipment and have it in use seven days a week. If you own equipment you could also look at renting it out to other vendors on days that you don’t need it.
Just like the big chain fast food restaurants you should package your product offerings into ‘combos’ or ‘value meal deals’. The usual way to do this is to package a hot dog, packet of chips and a soda together and sell it for an attractive price that is a little cheaper than if to customer bought each of the items separately.
Always try to up-sell your customers on additional items. If they only order a hot dog then you may as well ask them if they would like a beverage as well.
Once you have secured a location, use your hot dogs as a way of spreading the word about your business. Hand out some free samples to key people such as managers or foreman and hope that they let their staff know about you.
One of the best ways to advertise your hot dog stand is the smell of hot dogs cooking. Make sure that you always have hot dogs cooking and their smell will grab people’s attention and encourage them to purchase.
Loyalty cards can work well and encourage regular customers if you are operating in the same spot every day. Give customers a card and stamp it each time they order a hot dog. After ten purchases you could then give them a free one.
Don’t be in too much of a rush to expand your operation to multiple locations and to hire employees. It is essential that you understand the business first. Once you have one stand that is running smoothly and profitably you can then duplicate what you have learned at other locations.
If you will be in a location where you will be relying on repeat customers then you must focus on having excellent quality products. Look for the best quality hot dogs, buns and toppings and you will keep them coming back for more. On the other hand, if you are setting up at events and it is likely that you will only be selling to people once, then you don’t need to place such an emphasis on quality products and you can try to save money by going for cheaper alternatives.
Have you ever tried to juggle a food item and a drink while carrying a briefcase or a shopping bag? You may want to offer some sort of plate for your customers to use or a box for the hot dog. It adds to your overhead but people will choose your hot dog stand over the guy on the next block who doesn’t offer these little conveniences.
Remember that you, as a hot dog cart operator are what brings the customers back. You can undercut the competition and have the very best products but you won’t get much return business if your customers don’t have some sort of relationship with you. This can be as simple as a cheerful greeting or telling them you hope they have a great day. Remembering a regular customer’s preferences will get you a customer for as long as you’re in business. Taking the time for a brief chat may also make people want to come back.
Always keep the area around your hot dog cart clean, even if it means picking up other people’s trash. This will allow you to maintain your good reputation among your customers, potential customers and your landlord, if you have one. Another way to appear to be neat and organized is to wear a uniform.
Another idea is to consider offering services that will make you stand out from other market players. If you allow customers to phone in orders then you help them to save time and you may get some large orders from groups in offices or factories. You could even provide a hot dog catering service where clients order your hot dogs and other items for a picnic or party and you simply drop off the goodies.
If you have to throw away large volumes of inventory on a regular basis then such bad management could really start to eat into your profits.
It is important to have enough inventory on hand at any one time so that you never have to turn customers away. Having too much inventory on hand can lead to waste and can also tie up your operating funds. Make accurate records of what you need on a daily, weekly and seasonal basis so that you can plan ahead and buy what you need.
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